Ian O’Reilly and his family had the day off from work and school on Monday, so they decided to enjoy a day out in nature, heading to a local hiking trail. However, it wasn’t long before the dad came face-to-face with the snarling canine.
Ordinarily, coyotes will leave humans alone, but in this case, the animal was aggressive and wasn’t going to be shooed away, nor was it going to allow the family to leave the area undisturbed. O’Reilly says the animal “went after” his young son.
“It actually caught the hood of his jacket and was able to pull him down,” O’Reilly said.
The children’s mother grabbed the kids and protected them, calling 911 in the process, while Ian dealt with the coyote. He kicked the animal “square in the jaw” and then jumped on him, before eventually being able to get a strangle-hold around the beast’s neck. He then choked it for several minutes until the animal was dead.
“In the moment you don’t really pay attention to what’s going on you just try and go with whatever goes through your brain, instincts I suppose,” O’Reilly said.
O’Reilly survived the encounter with bites on his arms and chest. As for the coyote, its corpse will be sent to a lab to be tested for rabies. Out of caution, O’Reilly has already started getting rabies shots.
The O’Reilly’s were most likely not the first people that coyote attacked. A Kensington, New Hampshire resident said that earlier on Monday, a coyote bit her and her two dogs. Also on Monday, a coyote — again, likely the same one — was seen chasing a car down a road.
New Hampshire Fish and Game officials said that it is possible that more than one coyote was involved in Monday’s incident. Further, authorities believe that one or both of the animals involved in the attacks likely had rabies.
According to The Humane Society, coyotes are generally afraid of humans. However, due to humans encroaching on their habitats — and feeding them — coyotes are losing their fear of humans and have been known to attack in rare cases.
Still, in centuries of recorded history, there have been only two documented fatal coyote attacks on humans. One occurred in the 1980s, when a coyote killed a small child in Southern California. The second occurred in Nova Scotia in 2009, when a coyote killed an adult woman.